Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hooded Menace - Effigies Of Evil

The excitement that contained me was almost overwhelming, for when I heard that the Finnish death/doom duo Hooded Menace were releasing yet a third obelisk of melancholic doom metal upon the universe I gaped in amazement for several minutes, heart pumping. Hooded Menace actually released their second monolith in 2010, only two years ago, but they’ve proven to be much fruitful for a band that maximizes the importance of technicality and melody in dense, ominous doom. Not only does the duo spew forth yet another cluster of songs, but they also fill up the missing bits and pieces in between years by doing numerous splits with famous acts, Asphyx and Horse Latitudes being some that immediately come to mind. For fans that enjoyed the sublimes darkness of richly embroidered textures of ‘’Never Cross The Dead’’, ‘’Effigies Of Evil’’ is an even more graceful colossus, with notable changes in the sound.

There are many weapons in Hooded Menace’s prolific artillery that draw the line between them and the other plague of old school death/doom bands, the most important one being their dexterousness and fearlessness of fabricating imaginative death/doom suppressing the boundaries of the classic basis that has already been played with countless times, and binding them with cumulative and beckoning melodious splendour, instrumental grace and a perfectly ominous overtone that’s reminiscent of both evil and melancholy. ‘’Never Cross The Dead’’ was a entrancing affair as it restored the decrepit sequences of melody that were almost nonexistent on the debut album, but ‘’Effigies Of Evil’’ simply thrives the band’s spectral performance even more, now bringing an epic sense into the music.

The subtle melodies are now quite tangible as their serve as a crucial fulcrum in the Finns’ third effort, backed up by crushing visceral smacks and chomps, thick and fulsome in tone. The band now fuses an even more complex array of melodies, an entwining stream of impeccable melodies diving and spreading coarsely, and yet the melodies are constructed with two individual pieces, slithering against each other. They’re two separate fragments, joining into one vein as they gradually descend along the misanthropic path the album leaves us to plod on. The riffs are so groovy and swaggering that the band occasionally lets the melodies spur with a massive momentum, and ‘’In The Dead We Dwell’’ (which also by personal favourite) is such a song, allowing the melodies to distinguish themselves in numerous and capricious emotions, effortlessly switching into one ponderous sludge groove into another.

Hooded Menace’s artillery becomes fully prepared for assault with the arrival of the vocals, implacable and churning into the swampy mixture with ease. The vocal delivery on ‘’Effigies Of Evil’’ is probably the most death-like trait that the album possesses. They’re deep growls, damp, cavernous and remote from any sort of liveliness even though the riffs may take on a more vigorous hue at times. The occasional use of reverb and other guitar tones and effects enforce the gradually building momentum of mournful evil, like in ‘’Crumbling Insanity’’ a semi-conscious output of drowning swamp-like voids sucking at the listener’s ear, and it comes with a main spectral melody that, oddly resembles the Godfather melody. ‘’Effigies Of Evil’’ is Hooded Menace’s masterpiece, in my humble opinion. It’s a dark venture into a saturating aura of evil, and it procrastinates nothing. There are two ways you may listen to it; either by contemplating its deep, congregating atmosphere as a whole, envying its corrupted splendour, or by feeling the briskness of each individual piece individually, letting the album swallow you slowly with meagre bites.

Effigies Of Evil
In The Dead We Dwell
Curses Scribed In Gore
Crumbling Insanity

Rating: 89%

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